Clinton Obamas Drugs
Jim Cole  /  AP
Political operative Bill Shaheen resigned Thursday after making comments that Barack Obama's teenage drug use could make it hard for him to win the presidency.
By Associated Press Writer
updated 12/14/2007 12:26:07 PM ET 2007-12-14T17:26:07

Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday denounced the comments of an official in her campaign who resigned after raising questions about drug use by Barack Obama.

Clinton was asked about the official's comments about Obama as she campaigned in Iowa, where the controversy has become an issue less than three weeks before the state's leadoff caucuses.

"As soon as I found out that one of my supporters and co-chairs in New Hampshire made a statement, asked a series of questions, I made it clear it was not authorized, it was in no way condoned, I didn't know about it and he stepped down," Clinton said.

A day earlier, Bill Shaheen, a national co-chairman for Clinton and a prominent New Hampshire political figure, had resigned. He and the Clinton campaign had been criticized after he suggested Obama's admitted use of drugs as a teenager could be used against the Illinois senator if he became the Democratic presidential nominee.

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Clinton, speaking during a taping of Iowa Public Television's "Iowa Press" program and during a meeting with reporters afterward, sought distance from that comment.

"I made it very clear as soon as I heard about it that I not only disapproved, it did not reflect the campaign I am running," said Clinton. "I did personally apologize, the gentleman in question has stepped down from the leadership role in my campaign."

'Not in my campaign'
Asked if the issue of Obama's drug use should be an issue, Clinton said, "Not in my campaign."

"There are a lot of differences between us, and those are the contrasts that should be drawn," said Clinton. "I'm running a campaign about who I am, what I've done and that's what I'm going to stay focused on.'

She also rejected recent comments from her campaign about Obama saying he hadn't sought the presidency for long — after writing and talking about such an ambition throughout his life.

"That was silly, and I told my campaign it was silly," Clinton said. "My whole point has been there are legitimate differences."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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